Johnny Depp Dating Lawyer Joelle Rich from His U.K. Libel Trial 'But It's Not Serious': Source

Johnny Depp is in a relationship with Joelle Rich, who was a lawyer representing him in his U.K. libel lawsuit against The Sun

Johnny Depp is dating one of the attorneys from his U.K. libel case, Joelle Rich, a source confirms to PEOPLE.

"They are dating but it's not serious," the source says.

Rich is a London lawyer who was on 59-year-old Depp's legal team during his libel case against The Sun, which he lost in November 2020. He sued the newspaper for calling him a "wife-beater," but the court upheld the outlet's claims as being "substantially true" and his ex-wife Amber Heard testified to back up the claims. In March 2021, his attempt to overturn the decision was overruled.

Depp's new romantic interest was not among his lawyers in this year's defamation case against Heard, 36, that was in Fairfax County, Virginia. He won that case; a jury found that Heard defamed him in her 2018 Washington Post op-ed about domestic violence, though she didn't mention him by name. Depp was awarded more than $10 million in damages, and Heard, meanwhile, won one of her three defamation countersuit claims and was awarded $2 million. (They are both appealing the verdicts.)

Though Rich was not on Depp's legal team this time, she did make several court appearances to show support. She was photographed with Depp outside of the courthouse on May 3, and she was pictured hugging Depp's attorney Camille Vasquez inside the courtroom on May 16.

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Us Weekly was first to report the relationship news.

According to her bio, Rich "helps individuals and families in the public eye protect their privacy and reputations" and has "expertise in libel, privacy and copyright disputes." She "works to defend [clients'] reputations against false and defamatory allegations in print, online and on social media." Her firm represented Meghan Markle in a case against the publishers of the Mail on Sunday last year as well.

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There's been speculation about Depp's romantic life ever since the highly-publicized Virginia defamation case earlier this year. People on social media started a rumor that his lawyer Vasquez was dating the movie-star client — which she denied and called "sexist" in an interview with PEOPLE.

Joelle Rich and Johnny Depp on May 3, 2022.Ron Sachs/Consolidated News Pictures/Getty

"I guess it comes with the territory of being a woman just doing her job," said Vasquez. "It's disappointing that certain outlets kind of ran with it or said that my interactions with Johnny — who is a friend and I've known and represented for four-and-a-half years now — that my interactions in any way were inappropriate or unprofessional. That's disappointing to hear."

Joelle Rich hugs Camille Vasquez on May 16, 2022.STEVE HELBER/POOL/AFP via Getty

"I care very deeply about my clients, and we have obviously become close. But when I say we, I mean the entire team, and of course that includes Johnny," added Vasquez. "And, I'm Cuban and Colombian. I'm tactile. What do you want me to say? I hug everyone. And I'm not ashamed about that."

Then, when Depp was photographed in Italy helping a mystery woman with her bag as they exited a vehicle and he headed to music rehearsals in July, fans speculated it could be a potential new relationship. A source close to Depp clarified to PEOPLE, however, that she was Depp's French teacher for his upcoming film Jeanne du Barry and that there was "no romantic connection whatsoever; strictly professional."

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